November 03, 2014

Florida: Mega checks, super donors led to costliest mid-term election in the nation

Duelling elex signsIt’s now official: This year’s state elections are the costliest in Florida history, and the nation’s most expensive.

Republican and Democratic candidates for statewide and legislative offices and their political parties in the 2014 election cycle raised a staggering $345 million, according to a preliminary analysis by the Herald/Times and the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections by Friday’s deadline show that huge contributions from out-of-state mega donors helped to make 2014 the most expensive Florida governor’s race on record. The Center For Responsive Politics has concluded that, as a result, Florida has the most expensive mid-term election in the nation.

“Money always speaks,” said Susan MacManus, political science professor at the University of South Florida who runs the Sunshine State Survey of voters opinions.

As voters head to the polls Tuesday, the infusion of big checks from deep pockets increases voter disenchantment, she said. “The average person says: ‘When this money is gushing in to the political system why should I get involved?’ They see the message is all about tearing down, not building up, and they tune it out.”

The flood of cash helped to fuel unprecedented spending on a barrage of mostly-negative television ads. Records show that Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist have spent at least $104 million on television alone, saturating the airwaves at an unprecedented rate. Story here. 

Crist and Taddeo travel through the heart of their base on final day

By Kathryn Varn and Amy Sherman

Crist and Taddeo in MiamiCharlie Crist and running mate Annette Taddeo launched a day-long bus tour through the heart of their base on Monday beginning with a get out the vote rally in the minority-rich communities of Allapattah and Lauderdale Lakes. 

“Looks like it’s going to be tight,” Crist said, stepping off his tour bus to about 100 supporters at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Miami Dade County. “But it’s going to be good.”

Joining them were Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, whose organization has been an important financial supporter.

Crist greeted fans and campaign staff by name as he made his way to a small room in the International Brotherhood hall.

“Did you vote?” he asked one woman while hugging and shaking hands.

“I voted the first day!” she said.

Supporters showed up at the site about an hour before Crist did, holding signs: “African Americans for Charlie.” “Hispanics for Charlie.” “Women choose Charlie.”

A pickup truck decorated with American flags and a Rick Scott banner crawled around the block, blaring Spanish music as the driver stuck a peace sign out the window.

Crist supporters booed while a group of about 30 Scott backers cheered the truck on, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

“Rick Scott… he’s not a smooth politician, but he’s a guy that’s delivered results,” Lopez-Cantera said. “I find it disingenuous for Charlie to come back and criticize the tough decisions Rick Scott made when he didn’t even want to make them himself.”

Continue reading "Crist and Taddeo travel through the heart of their base on final day" »

St. Pete Polls: Charlie Crist and Rick Scott tied at 45%

@MarcACaputo

St. Pete Polls, a robo-polling firm from (of all places) St. Petersburg, releases this morning's Goldilocks poll.

GOP-leaning 0ptimus finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 2 points in Gov. Rick Scott's favor.

Quinnipiac University finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 1 point in Democrat Charlie Crist's favor

And St. Pete Polls shows Scott and Crist basically tied at 45 percent. By decimal point, it's Crist 44.9 percent and Scott 44.6 percent. Those toplines are remarkably similar to Public Policy Polling's survey yesterday.

Download St. Pete Poll

 

0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%

@MarcACaputo

Don't like this morning's Quinnipiac University poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist ahead of Gov. Rick Scott by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 1 percentage point?

Then check out 0ptimus, a GOP-leaning firm that released its latest robo-poll survey showing Scott leading Crist by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 2 percentage points.

Takeaway: Both polls show a tie. Other polls show a tie. It's probably a tie and, gulp, this election will be won or lost by turnout on Election Day. Now how cliche is that?

Click our Polls tab for more on, well, polls. And here's 0ptimus' analysis:

Continue reading "0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%" »

Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist

@MarcACaputo

Yup, it's still tied.

Quinnipiac University this morning released a pre-Election Day poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist nursing a 1 percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott -- making the race basically a dead heat. Quinnipiac didn't include its poll demographics in its press release. So all you polling unskewers will have to wait.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist" »

Poll-prediction guru Nate Silver gives Charlie Crist a "slight" 60% chance of winning

@MarcACaputo

Missed this a few days ago: Nate Silver, who accurately forecast the 2012 elections (including Florida) is out with a batch of predictions and, despite the tied polling and the GOP's lead in banking pre-Election Day votes in the Sunshine State, his data show the Democrat is more likely to win the governor's race.

From Five Thirty Eight:

Charlie Crist of Florida, the former Republican turned Democrat, is just slightly more likely than not to oust Republican Gov. Rick Scott from office. A slightly safer bet for a Democratic pickup is in Kansas, where Paul Davis has a 81 percent chance of beating Republican incumbent Sam Brownback.

Silver's chart shows Crist's chances of winning at 60 percent. More here

November 02, 2014

Will Souls to the Polls be a boom or bust for Charlie Crist?

@MarcACaputo et al

Sunday was for spiritual as well as political salvation, a day in Florida politics for “Souls to the Polls.”

The last day for in-person early voting, Sunday is a time when black voters have flexed their political muscle and cast ballots in droves after church. The lift was heavy Sunday: help the Democratic Party — and especially Charlie Crist — eat into Republicans’ 126,000 lead in casting pre-Election Day ballots.

In a nod to black voters’ importance, Crist campaigned with Vice President Joe Biden at Mount Hermon AME Church in Fort Lauderdale. Pastors throughout Tampa Bay urged the faithful to go vote. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton respectively stumped in Jacksonville and Miami.

Miami-Dade saw nearly 16,500 voters Sunday, a 53 percent increase from Saturday. And Broward’s increase in a day was larger still: 60 percent, to 19,802.

Republicans, unlike in past years, were determined not to let Democrats run up the score on Sunday. Gov. Rick Scott visited First Baptist Church Piney Grove in Lauderdale Lakes. Scott then rallied with Jeb Bush in Miami-Dade’s heavily Hispanic Republican city of Hialeah.

“Charlie Crist has gotta go,” Bush said to wild applause, joking a moment later that “my mother didn’t want me to say that.” Bush later told reporters that Scott has “kept his word. His opponent is someone who will say anything, do anything to get elected.”

Continue reading "Will Souls to the Polls be a boom or bust for Charlie Crist?" »

PPP: Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent, medical marijuana dying

@MarcACaputo

It has been said for months that the Florida governor's race will go down to the wire, that no candidate leads outside the margin of error in any reputable poll.

Now comes Public Policy Polling to put an exclamation on that with a poll showing Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist tied at 44 percent each.

"We don't believe in reporting to decimal points but the one time we make an exception is tied final polls- Crist 44.0, Scott 43.8," PPP said on Twitter. "To give you an idea of just how this close this final Florida poll came out- 526 respondents picked Crist, 524 picked Scott."

PPP also finds medical marijuana dying at 53 percent, well below the 60 percent needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie "is hurting Crist," PPP reported. "His supporters say they'd pick Crist over Scott 43/18. Take Wyllie out and Crist leads Scott 47/46."

A look at the crosstabs shows that PPP has a similar finding to Quinnipiac University: a big advantage that Crist has among independents, 13 percentage points in this cast. The crosstabs:

     Overall      GOP       DEM         IND
Scott  44% 81% 18% 28%
Crist 44% 12% 76% 41%
Wyllie 6% 4% 3% 13%

As has been stated in the past, PPP is liberal-leaning but has generally produced pretty on-point polls. It is a robo-polling firm, so it primarily surveys people who have landlines and thus it could lean slightly conservative owing to its technological limits (cellphone voters tend to be more liberal, etc.). Also, PPP doesn't call off a voter list; respondents self-identify. So its polls need to be pegged to self-ID polls (such as exit polls). That's a disclaimer for all you unskewers who will say the independents are too high. They're not, judging by past exit polls.

PPP's survey was 39 percent Democcrat, 37 percent GOP and 23 percent independent. If you average the last two exit polls for the last two midterms, it would yield an R-D-I of 38-36-26 percent. Apply that to PPP's crosstabs, and the race would still be well within the margin of error: Scott 45 percent, Crist 43 percent.

For the last post unskewing the polling, click here. For more on polls in this race, click on the Polls tab here. Here's the PPP poll:  Download FLResults 

 

Biden speaks about civil rights, voting rights at black church

Charlie Crist gave a brief introduction before Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Mout Hermon, a black church in Fort Lauderdale, Sunday afternoon.

“You can early vote up until 4 o’clock,” Crist said, shortly before 3 p.m. “ I heard some tried to make it a little longer but you know how things go sometimes in Florida. ... I’m on your side and Rick’s not.”

(Here is our background about Broward’s late attempt to extend early voting which was rejected by the state.)

Biden reflected back on the civil rights movement and efforts to desegregate movie theaters, push for voting access and fighting housing discrimination. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King’s words from the Selma jail, African-American poet Maya Angelou and said he was here to deliver a simple message from President Obama:

“He has had your back, you’ve got to have his back. ...  Give him some governors he can work with.”

Biden bashed Scott for “eviscerating” education and for giving tax breaks to the wealthy and for trying to reduce voting access.

He said that Scott made “repeated efforts to make it harder for ya’ll to vote,” Biden said.

In 2011 under Scott, Florida reduced early voting but after the long lines in 2012 the state overhauled the voting law in 2013.

While waiting for Biden, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair from Weston, criticized Scott for education cuts and for the failure of the state to expand Medicaid. Scott initially opposed expanding Medicaid, later flip flopped in support of it but didn’t lobby for it and the Legislature rejected it.

Crist is hoping that Democrats in South Florida turn out at higher numbers than they did in 2010 when Alex Sink lost to Scott. Through Saturday, Broward’s turnout was about 21 percent but the full turnout won’t be known until Tuesday night.

Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, acknowledged Broward’s poor showing during the last governor’s race. But he expressed optimism that Broward will turn out in greater numbers this time.

“Four years ago we did not turn out like we should have,” he said. “The numbers this year are up in Broward County.”

Broward has surpassed early and absentee voting from 2010 days before election day. But a key question remains unknown: are more Broward voters turning out simply before election day or will overall turnout in Broward be higher than in the past? Broward turnout was 41 percent in 2010.

After Biden speaks, Crist plans to march with Democratic voters from New Hope Community Church, another nearby Fort Lauderdale church, to the early voting site at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.

Through Saturday, the library has been nearly in the middle in terms of turnout among the 20 early voting sites. The most crowded sites have been at sites in Coral Springs, Tamarac and Pembroke Pines.